[JPL] I gave this article five stars.

Eric Jackson eric-jackson at comcast.net
Thu May 3 19:17:41 EDT 2007

On Thursday 03 May 2007 13:36, Lazaro Vega wrote:
> This Week's JPL Sponsor: Voluntary Donors
> Hi Eric,
> > I'm curious as to how you measure that they did "more musically with
> > these themes." And of the works you referred to, do you also rank them in
> > terms of which is more musical? If so, I'd be curious to hear your list
> > and why you place them that way.
> "Max & Abbey been there, done that, timelier, angrier, and better."

I have a problem with the word "better." How do you determine better? I'm not 
asking which is your personal favorite. I have my personal favorites but I'm 
not willing to say one is better than the other.

> Abby screaming from "Prayer/Protest/Peace" is often the sound track to
> films of the fire hoses and attack dogs being turned loose on the
> black population.

We don't have fire hoses and attack dogs being shown daily on the news 
attacking black folks now. Maybe we need a sound that reflects today.

> The music's impact was on the level of the visual image, of real life.
> In real life today I doubt "Plantation" will have much of an impact.
> Would that it did but doubts rule hope.

It was a different time. Lots of action in the streets. Lots of emotionalism. 
Maybe Wynton's work is the image of today which is certainly different than 
the times that produced those other works. I doubt it will have the impact 
but part of that is because jazz doesn't have the same impact to the masses 
today that it had in the past. 

> And, yes, "Plantation" is a touch point in an on-going musical commentary.
> Louis got "in trouble" for saying in effect that if 'Jesus were black
> and marched today they'd beat him, too.'  Folks sure enough didn't
> want to hear that truth from their Entertainer. That was when Dizzy
> and Miles turned around on Louis and embraced him for what he was, not
> for what they thought he was.

I didn't know about that incident. I was referring to his criticism of the 
Eisenhower administration and their handling of Little Rock school 
integration. That criticism cost him work.

> John Hammond was just a big chicken about "Strange Fruit."

I think he had realistic concerns. During the 70s I worked for a big rock 
station in Boston, WBCN. I was hired to play a 60% jazz show while also 
playing other forms of African American music. I used to regularly get nasty, 
sometimes scary calls from racist folks who didn't want me to play what I was 
playing. "Take this damn n**** shit off the radio!" Hammond didn't know how 
white audiences would react almost 70 years ago to a song like Strange Fruit. 
I believe that Strange Fruit took off based on jukebox play. That meant that 
it didn't need as much white approval. Black people in black neighborhoods 
could put their money in the jukebox and listen to it. Even white folks who 
wanted to hear it could play it on the jukebox.

Eric Jackson
8 pm - mid Mon - Thurs
WGBH Boston
89.7 FM

> As far as today, well, yeah -- people will beat your fanny black and
> blue for saying anything critical. I mean, they'll out a spy for
> getting some truth in the way, and the Dixie Chicks sure were beat
> down for stating what was on many people's minds. They recovered, but,
> yeah: they got a taste of what Hunter S. Thompson called "The Shit
> Hammer." Yuck!
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